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Alabamians feel the sting of the ‘war on coal’ [VIDEO]

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

A new video charges the “war on coal” is hurting jobs in Alabama.

“Liberal environmentalists, especially from the northeast [United States], have made the Alabama Public Service Commission ground zero in their fight to raise energy costs in the southeast,” said Paul Reynolds, chairman of the Alabama Free Market Alliance in a video by Yellowhammer TV.

President Barack Obama recently announced that he would direct the Environmental Protection Agency to cap carbon dioxide emissions from new and existing power plants, which critics argue will hurt the coal industry.

“I’m an American, I’m a veteran, and they won’t let me do my job,” said Randy Johnson, a coal miner. “I know how to do my job, I know how to mine coal.”

According to the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, Alabama is slated to lose 10 coal-fired generating units due, at least in part, to EPA regulations. The southeastern U.S. will be hit especially hard by EPA regulations since much of their electricity comes from coal.

Earlier this year, neighboring Georgia saw 15 coal-fired generators shut down due EPA mercury air regulations — which the EPA estimates cost power companies $10.2 billion annually.

Earlier this month, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced it would idle four coal-fired units in Tuscumbia, Alabama in June 2016 as the result of litigation brought by environmental groups and several states, and after it has received administrative compliance orders from the EPA for violating clean air laws.

“The Sierra Club applauds TVA for their recognition that coal is a fuel of the past, and that our future lies in investment in renewable energy and efficiency,” said Scott Banbury of the Tennessee Chapter of Sierra Club. “I hope today’s news signals a shift for TVA: investment in clean 21st century energy solutions, not reliance on biomass or coal as our energy future”

A report put out by the Sierra Club and Synapse Energy Economics found that the TVA would be risking billions of dollars by keeping the coal plants running, which the group argues would harm the environment and contribute to global warming.

Further, Drummond Co. announced it was cutting 425 coal mining jobs in three counties in Alabama — a move blamed on the Obama administration’s policies by a top mine workers union official.

“Environmentalists are worried about their agenda, I’m worried about my grandkids,” Johnson added.

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